By David Tease, Golf NSW.
They got there in different ways, but Jacqui Morgan and Steve Toyne won their respective NSW Senior Amateur crowns at Shoalhaven Heads Golf Club.
After starting the day with a what seemed a commanding eight-shot lead, it looked like being a stroll for Morgan.
It didn’t take long for the Monash Country Club tyro to extend her lead to 10, and even though she dropped a couple on the outward nine, she still managed to turn for home with a seven-shot buffer.
Zut Jane Wall, Morgan’s playing partner, had other ideas.
The pair traded back-to-back bogeys early on the back nine (the course’s front side), so the tournament still seemed to be all but over.
But Wall stepped up a gear with birdies on the the 5th and 6th holes, hinting at the challenge to come.
Morgan dropped another shot on the the 7th and then inexplicably double-bogeyed the 8th to leave her just a shot in front with one to play.
But as the tension reached a crescendo Wall dropped a shot on the last and the title, Morgan’s seventh senior amateur crown, was locked away.
“Close in the end, but what can I say, It’s my seventh senior crown. Lucky seven as they say,” Morgan said with a smile.
The men’s final round provided a different type of drama, worthy of a title fight.
Warren Gorton, who started the day with a four-shot buffer, but had no answer for the fast-finishing Toyne, who was a model of consistency.
After pegging back the lead to two shots after the front nine, Toyne made his move on the par-five 13th, grabbing a share of the lead.
When the Queenslander drove the green and two-putted for another birdie on the short par-four 14th, it meant the lead had swapped hands for the first time in almost 30 holes.
It was the par-three 15th, however which brought Gorton’s run to an end with an untimely triple bogey. Suddenly the Queenslander had a four-shot buffer. Despite a bogey on the 16th, he consolidated it on the way back to the clubhouse to eventually win by five.
Toyne, already a winner of several national senior amateur titles, was thrilled to pick up his first NSW Senior Amateur crown.
“It feels really good. The last time I played (the NSW Senior), Stefan Albinksi beat me at the finishing post by a shot at Narooma,” he said.
“I am thoroughly enjoying this it and relishing the victory.”
Toyne added he was surprised to have won so easily in the end.
“Warren had a four-shot buffer, and I thought it was going to be uphill, but I knew If I cloud hit greens in regulation I was going to be in with a chance.
“I managed to make a few birdies and it put the pressure on him.”
This week’s win also guarantees the Indooroopilly member a start in the NSW Senior Open at Thurgoona later this year.
“I’ll be there, my oath,” he said.
“I played against all of those guys back in the 1908s up in the Atherton Tablelands. All those guys used to come up, so I’m looking forward to it.”